Men and women, give me your best appraisal of this situation:
I am not trying to boast but I have always been considered very beautiful. I'm tall with long, thick red hair and a very womanly figure. People usually love to engage in conversation with me and find me to be really fun and funny. I used to get asked on dates constantly and have a lot of options. Then something changed.
This past spring (of 2009) I was sexually assaulted. It was exceptionally traumatic and I wound up in a hospital over night with a police report and everything. Since then I really tried to "low key" my life. I stopped going out as much or regarding myself as pretty. I really began to see myself as worthless and disgusting. My self esteem has plummeted and I find going outside and talking to men to be a huge, anxiety-ridden chore. I do, however, still feel like I want a man. Except I haven't been able to really attract one since this happened.
I suppose what I'm trying to ask is: is my self-esteem (my low self-esteem) evident? Can people see it? I feel like that's possible. I look exactly the same as I did last year. The only thing that has changed is my own personal view of myself.
Most Helpful Guy
It's possible people are noticing your lower self-image. It's also possible that it just seems that way to you because you've been through a traumatic experience which changed (at least temporarily) your emotional reactions.
Either way, the best advice is to talk to sexual assault survivors and/or a professional therapist. The feelings you're describing are normal after an abusive experience, but there are ways to deal with them. Here's a few places to look if you aren't sure where to start:
RAINN (Anti-sexual assault nonprofit organization):
Dept. of Health and Human Services sexual abuse FAQ and hotlines: